Monday, May 18, 2015
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AEM meeting room changed to Hornet's Nest - today

Pedometers available for WalkingWorks program

H4 Training discount for Fermilab employees

Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubbia presents at MAP Spring Collaboration Meeting - today

LDRD preliminary proposals due May 29

Register now for LArSoft Workshop on June 3

Fermilab pool open June 9, memberships available

Managing Conflict (half-day) on June 10

Living Green! new Fermilab Library book display

Mac OS X security patches

Indian Road closure

Fermilab Board Game Guild

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From symmetry

The accelerator in the Louvre

The Accélérateur Grand Louvre d'analyse élémentaire solves ancient mysteries with powerful particle beams. Photo: Yann Caradec, Creative Commons

In a basement 15 meters below the towering glass pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris sits a piece of work the curators have no plans to display: the museum's particle accelerator.

This isn't a Dan Brown novel. The Accélérateur Grand Louvre d'analyse élémentaire is real and has been a part of the museum since 1988.

Researchers use AGLAE's beams of protons and alpha particles to find out what artifacts are made of and to verify their authenticity. The amounts and combinations of elements an object contains can serve as a fingerprint hinting at where minerals were mined and when an item was made.

Scientists have used AGLAE to check whether a saber scabbard given to Napoleon Bonaparte by the French government was actually cast in solid gold (it was) and to identify the minerals in the hauntingly lifelike eyes of a 4,500-year-old Egyptian sculpture known as The Seated Scribe (black rock crystal and white magnesium carbonate veined with thin red lines of iron oxide).

"What makes the AGLAE facility unique is that our activities are 100 percent dedicated to cultural heritage," says Claire Pacheco, who leads the team that operates the machine. It is the only particle accelerator that has been used solely for this field of research.

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Glenn Roberts Jr. and Kelen Tuttle

Photos of the Day

Waddle, huddle, snuggle

Mother goose and her fuzzy goslings waddle across the street. Photo: Lu Ren, University of Pittsburgh
Geese and goslings huddle by Swan Lake. Photo: Valery Stanley, WDRS
A gosling snuggles under its mother's wing. Photo: Bridget Scerini, TD
In the News

Found: giant spirals in space that could explain our existence

From New Scientist, May 14, 2015

Giant magnetic spirals in the sky could explain why there is something rather than nothing in the universe, according to an analysis of data from NASA's Fermi space telescope.

Our best theories of physics imply we shouldn't be here. The Big Bang ought to have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter particles, which would almost immediately annihilate each other, leaving nothing but light.

So the reality that we are here — and there seems to be very little antimatter around — is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in physics.

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Tip of the Week:
Quality Assurance

Are you using the right tool for the job?

If you find yourself without the right tool to perform your work, don't resort to a kludge. Work safely and effectively: Take the time to select the right tool for the job. Photo courtesy of J.B. Dawson

Have you ever had to connect a piece of electrical equipment or build something that came in what seemed like 1,000 pieces? Then in the midst of connecting or building, maybe you arrived at a point where you didn't have the exact tool that you needed but had something that "could work." Perhaps you were on a tight schedule and figured that you didn't have the time or the desire to find or order the appropriate tool, so you made it work, and it did seem to work fairly well … at the time. Time went on, and then something seemed not to work properly or fell apart sooner than expected. That's when you began to question what could have gone wrong. Perhaps it was when you decided to "make it work" by using the incorrect tool.

Using the correct tool for the job is essential to making sure things operate at peak performance. Using a tool that is not suitable for your work can cause personnel safety or operational quality problems. Such problems may not be immediately evident and can develop over time, for example when the part fails, resulting in downtime and the need for rework. Rework requires time and money and may even jeopardize job or project schedules.

Recently the Quality Assurance Subcommittee investigated an issue that highlighted an incompatibility between miniature coaxial connectors and the crimping tools used to install the connectors. Often referred to as LEMO connectors (since LEMO is the best known brand), these connectors are made by a number of different companies. A lab staff member discovered that while each brand's connectors perform the same function, they do not have the exact same measurements. A connector of a specific brand requires a crimping tool of the same brand, similar to the way that only a Chevrolet engine can be started with a Chevrolet key. Using a different brand resulted in crimps on the cables that could turn out to be ineffective. Matching brands solves the problem and ensures that the coaxial connector is securely attached.

This situation highlights the importance of using the right tools for the job being performed. If you find you do not have the right tool for your task, you are encouraged to stop work, notify your supervisor and obtain the correct tool.

Failure to appropriately plan for the job or task by obtaining the proper tools will affect the quality of the job and can have further implications on cost, schedule and safety. So before you begin a job or assemble those 1,000 pieces, evaluate what you need to perform it effectively, and don't hesitate to notify the right people if you do not have the right tools. Let's do the job correctly the first time.

ESH&Q Quality Assurance / Communications Group

In the News

LHC tests Standard Model again — sadly, it passes

From ars technica, May 13, 2015

The discovery of the Higgs boson was a triumph for the Standard Model, which predicted how the particle should be formed, behave, and decay within the collision debris of the Large Hadron Collider. In fact, the Standard Model has accurately predicted everything we've looked at so far.

And that's a bit frustrating for physicists, since we know the Standard Model is incomplete. It doesn't have any particles that could account for the dark matter we detect. It doesn't contain an explanation for why the Universe is dominated by matter instead of antimatter. And it provides no mechanism that could give neutrinos mass.

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